Bullets are trying to get me out of cover. Explosions penetrate my field of vision, blood covers the floor and somebody yells instructions over the intercom. Welcome to the modern world of gaming. Gone are the days of endless sessions of Tetris and hours of Link discovering the pixel-loaded world of Hyrule. High definition graphics brought around a wave of realism, which flesh out the colorful world of gaming. More and more do gaming worlds mimic and imitate or even match environments found in reality. Virtual environments are not only a necessary narrative device for games; they also challenge the brains of players in interesting ways.
Why do kids fight in public more frequently than grown-ups?
If two women would commence a heavy fight over what drink to order in a posh restaurant, it would be unsurprising that many heads would turn. However, two 6-year old kids quarreling over a pack of crayons at a diner would hardly seem surprising or unusual. We consider it to be more than normal for children to act out and for grown-ups to show restraint. Is social pressure the only explanation for these assumptions? Or can the cause be traced back to the functioning of our brain?
In a world where gruesome essay-deadlines are the norm, a rigorous attendance policy is remorselessly applied and horrific weblog assignments are handed out like there is no tomorrow, the life of the average student is far from easy. Fortunately for people who often encounter themselves in likewise stressful situations, a new ancient technique, once designed to relief stress and induce positive relaxation, is becoming increasingly accepted in western society. That’s right; meditation is coming to a town near yours!
“Those who tickle themselves may laugh when they please”.
- German Proverb
Although this common-sense-based saying encompasses a valuable proverbial principle, there is not much of truth in it when observed from a practical standpoint. Try tickling yourself. Not working? Is it because I asked you to, or because I already stated you cannot? Since I am one of those people usually annoyed at their potential incapability of doing things, I was wondering whether I should really be disappointed of this shortcoming of mine, or just reside in myself and continue living my average life.
If you ask people what they wish for in their lives, many will answer: “love and being loved”. But what does it mean to love? What happens with your brain when you are in love? Put differently: is love literally all between your ears?
While lying on the operation table undergoing surgery, the famous actress Elizabeth Taylor – among thousands of other people – experienced near-death. In the five minutes in which Liz was clinically dead, she reported to have seen a brilliant white light and passing through a white tunnel of light. She said that she encountered one of her former husbands (Michael Todd, who died in a plane crash) and that he told her to go back to life. After that, Liz Taylor “woke up” again. Since the stories about the white tunnel are so commonly heard from people with a near-death experience, it made me wonder if there is, after all, more to our lives than the biology that makes up our brain. Are there indeed supernatural ‘wonders’? And may there, despite its non-verifiability, really be something after human death?